I’m sure everyone has a family recipe that they are convinced is the absolute best version of that particular dish in existence. In my case, over twenty-plus years of personal taste-testing research has confirmed what I’ve known since childhood – my family recipe for banana bread is the best banana bread there is. It is moist but not sticky, sweet but not cloying. It’s got just the right amount of banana, and it’s good with or without walnuts. What more could you ask for? Well, maybe for a big slice of this banana bread and a cold glass of milk…
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. (I like to use an electric hand mixer for this part.)
Add eggs one at a time. Beat well.
Stir in banana.
In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to banana mixture. Stir until just combined. Add walnuts, if using. Stir gently. (You don’t want to overmix the dough or the bread will be heavy.)
Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove bread from pan and cool on a cooling rack. The bread will keep for a few days, at room temperature, wrapped in aluminum foil.
You can eat the bread warm, but I think it tastes best at room temperature.